Trump Suppresses JFK Murder Records, Violates Pledge, Bows To CIA, Deep State

jfk american university

President Kennedy delivers an iconic speech in June 1963 at American University calling for world peace.

Some scholars say the courageous speech during allen dulles HRthe Cold War -- combined with Kennedy's actions antagonizing CIA, Pentagon, fanatic anti-communist empire-builders, segregationist, Cuban exile, Mafia and wealthy Texas oil forces -- helped set in motion his death later in the year. Among other actions, JFK's fury at the CIA's manipulations during the Bay of Pigs invasion led him to oust the top three CIA executives. One of them, CIA Director Allen Dulles (right), an operative for decades on behalf of some of America's leading dynasties, would help guide six other Warren Commission officials supervising the Commission staff writing the official report in 1964 about JFK's death.

Beginning in the 1970s, professor, poet and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott popularized the term "Deep State" in his books to describe the secretive relationship between America's oligarchs and key unelected officials such as Dulles, as evident in scholarly research about the Kennedy assassination.


On April 26 this spring, the last day of the historic deadline for JFK assassination records release, President Trump ordered suppression until 2021 of some 520 remaining classified records regarding the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas.

In violating his earlier pledge to release all records, Trump released at least parts of some 19,000 other records but cited only vague “national security” concerns for the redactions and outright document suppressions despite a congressionally passed legal requirement in the 1992 “JFK Act” that he and his administration provide a specific reason to suppress each withheld record.

The White House press announcement confused the issues further by redacting many of the 19,000 documents that were released by the National Archives and Records Administation (NARA) in the latest batch last week. The records are available online, a good thing. But NARA failed to organize them in a way readily accessible to reporters and other researchers — or to provide such other key details as whether documents had been previously released in significant part.

Trump used a similar stall tactic last fall in postponing the final release of documents, which were all supposed to be released by last Oct. 26, according to the so-called JFK Act unanimously passed by Congress in 1992 to quell public fervor from Oliver Stone's powerful film JFK.

One of Trump's longtime close friends confided this spring to us that he did not believe Trump had paid any significant attention to the JFK records issues last fall until just before decision date, even though some of Trump advisors had been telling him about the importance of the release. It happens also that djt newsweek lazy boy cover customTrump his son-in-law Jared Kushner's uncle, Murray J. Laulicht, born in 1940, had served as an assistant counsel on the Warren Commission staff and was one of countless experts that the Justice Integrity Project, among others, had ascertained (JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Deadline) ,as arguing for full document release.

Thus, the Newsweek cover "Lazy Boy" last year seemed apt as a portrayal of the president for this piece.

Last week's delay and release of some but not all of the documents confused the largely deferential and gullible mainstream media that automatically defers to “national security” claims.

Let’s be blunt since this process is apparently never going to be complete, at least within the lifetimes of the surviving witnesses who could augment the record of  what was literally "The Crime of the Century."

The so-called national security most at stake involves the ability of powerful entities to murder a president, in this case President Kennedy, in broad daylight for policy reasons and then to pressure successors, Congress, courts and the media to maintain a cover-up for more than five decades so that the institutional successors of the malefactors can continue their agendas at home and abroad.

The Basics Are Simple

That’s the basic story, cleared of clutter, and that’s what the public needs to care about — and not the endless theories and research projects thwarted by missing documents or witnesses.

As a positive note, my conclusion as a researcher who is well connected to others in the field is that the jigsaw puzzle about the JFK murder mystery is just about complete after more than 2,500 books on the topic and five million pages of declassified documents already release. So we already know most of what we need to know to understand that the 1964 Warren Commission was just part of a cover-up fraud that has continued to the present.

The essentials of the real story are already extensively documented: Accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald, a Marine who had worked on the ultra-secret U-2 spy program, was later an undercover low-level U.S. government asset under orders seeking to infiltrate Communist circles. He was thus easy to position at the designated kill zone for the president in Dallas and smear as a patsy. Oswald's killer Jack Ruby had a long relationship with the Mafia, contrary to the Warren Commission's findings, and thus faced pressure to kill Oswald before the patsy could defend himself -- or else Ruby would presumably be terminated for failure to follow orders.

As for Kennedy, the Secret Service and local police failed to take normal protections and professionals killed him, with the fatal bullet medically proven to have come from the right front (and not from the rear as the Warren Commission stated). The Secret Service hijacked Kennedy's corpse from a Dallas hospital, where independent professional doctors could see that he had been killed from the right front, and delivered the corpse instead to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where a rigged autopsy operating under military command confused and suppressed the medical evidence.

Nearly all of those in government and the media who have participated in the cover-up did so under a concocted fear that the truth would threaten "national security," including a potential war with the Soviet Union. Later generations of cover-up continue to the present because of desire for job stability or career advancement by professionals in government or the media who do not want to be stigmatized as "conspiracy theorists" by their peers and employers.

stephen breyer wLongtime  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a Massachusetts Democrat shown in an official portrait, is one of many examples. He worked in a junior position on the Warren Commission staff as a young Harvard Law grad. For decades, he should have been at the forefront of commentary on the topic of his party's murdered leader, and not advancing via his sinecures as a professor and judge with his mouth shut on this issue.

For most participating in the cover-ups, however, the reason is simply trust in government, leading to apathy and gullibility about history and a firm albeit sorely lacking focus on here and now deadlines.

Meanwhile, public opinion surveys for decades have shown that large majorities -- typically ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s -- of the American people do not believe the Warren Report.

As a result, opportunists like Trump are able to build on such suspicions to win popularity by denouncing as "fake news" even real news, while cynically selling out, as in the Kennedy evidence, to the institutional successors of those who murdered his predecessor Kennedy and many brave witnesses (including law enforcers and reporters) and covered-up their horrific crimes. Those are well documented in many fine books, including JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James Douglass in 2009.

The government cover-ups with only sporadic attention by the media (including academics) have enabled many later state crimes, including the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin false flag enabling continuation of the Vietnam War that Kennedy wanted to end, the Bush-era's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" hoax in 2003 enabling the Iraq War and, quite likely, the alleged but seemingly bogus chemical attacks this spring in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta. The latter, a continuation of the hoax "chemical attacks" that Seymour Hersh has exposed for years in the foreign media (since his major work is no longer published in the United States) are potentially paving the way for increased U.S. involvement in a war against Syria -- even though its government, with Russian and Iranian help, has nearly finished off the ISIS threat in the territory that it controls. 

Here and Now

As a caveat: those conclusions above are my own, albeit after considerable study that is excerpted below in an appendix that contains the Justice Integrity Project's 50-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination." The guide developed over nearly five years of writing consists of catalogs of major books, films, and archives plus interpretive commentaries reflecting all major points of view regarding the president's murder.

But the meaning of recent document release is the specific focus of today's column, which follows our brief news report of April 26, the date of release.

To cover recent specifics, the remainder of this column will cite the several highly experienced JFK assassination researchers who have written columns in recent days about the JFK documents. With so many controversial issues in play, however, their words are cited only for the limited purpose of showcasing their diligence and expertise on the specific results of the document release and suppression process -- and not to support my own more general conclusions stated above.

Those four experts cited below are:

  • Jacob Hornberger, a JFK author and book publisher, and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation website, where he often writes about political implications of JFK research;
  • Rex Bradford, analyst and consultant with Mary Ferrell Foundation research center;
  • Jeff Schechtman, reporter and radio host with the WhoWhatWhy investigative site; and
  • Jefferson Morley, Washington bureau chief of AlterNet, author of two JFK-related books, and a former Washington Post reporter who edits the commentary blog site.

The White House and Archives Announcements

Any analysis begins, of course, with the announcements by the White House, a relatively general statement, supplemented by a more detailed statement from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the formal name for the National Archives entrusted with coordinating such document releases.

NARA stated in a late morning announcement on April 26 headlined: New Group of JFK Assassination Documents Available to the Public:

nara logoIn accordance with President Trump’s direction on October 26, 2017, the National Archives today posted 19,045 documents subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). Released documents are available for download. The versions released today were processed by agencies in accordance with the President’s direction that agency heads be extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement.

Shortly afterwords, Trump took a victory lap by issuing a Tweet falsely claiming:  "JFK Files are released, long ahead of schedule!"

The major news organizations provided only modest coverage, doubtrless in part because authoties have made the process and the point of the records highly confusing and controversial through the decades. Younger reporters have a difficult time appreciating the continuing importance of the story, in part because that importance is directly related to the uncomforable reality that major news organizations have always worked to suppress the most important research that differs from the official story, as evident in the Readers Guide segments below.

Therefore, anyone seeking to understand last week's release needs to focus on independent research, most often published only on the web. The first of our authors cited above was Jacob Hornberger, who had correctly predicted in writing last October that Trump would doublecross the public by reneging on his legal obligation to release the documents then or provide a detailed rationale for national security.

jacob hornberger headshotThis time Hornberger, shown at right, whose writing is guided in part via his libertarian and conservative principles, wrote on April 27 The JFK Cover-Up Continues. The column began: 

Just as I repeatedly predicted, President Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives decided to continue keeping those 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national-security establishment secret from the American people. On yesterday’s deadline, Trump dutifully issued an executive decree ordering at least three more years of official secrecy.

My new prediction: When the new deadline arrives on October 26, 2021 it will be extended again. The American people will never — repeat never — be permitted to see those records.

Last October, I also correctly predicted that Trump would accede to CIA demands to extend the time for secrecy when the original deadline that had been sent 25 years ago arrived for releasing those 50-year-old records.

Rex Bradford and his colleagues at the Mary Ferrell Foundation followed up on April 30 with an analytic column 2017 / 2018 Document Releases: Update The April 26, 2018 Release. A significant excerpt from the column is reprinted below along with an excerpt from Jeff Schectman's in-depth interview of Bradford on the WhoWhatWhy podcast of May 1, entitled: Analysis: Final Word on the JFK Assassination: There Will Never Be a Final Word.

Finally, we excerpt the May 1 column by Jefferson Morley, the editor and the author of two biographies of two CIA executives regarded as important in the JFK research mysteries, James J. Angleton and Winston Scott.

Morley and his counsel James Lesar are also two of the most expert and dedicated Freedom of Information Act litigants in obtaining federal court decisions overcoming CIA stonewalling on documents. As reported by USA Today in March, their litigation has unearthed the major fidnign that George Joannides, a CIA officer who was supposed to help congressional researchers in the 1970s, was actually a key figure himself during the 1960s in the CIA's Cuba-focused investigations arguably highly relevant to the JFK assassination.

Morley, shown at right, opined on on May 1 in a column headlined After Trump’s big promise, 15,834 JFK files remain secret:

Today, after Trump’s April 26 document dump, jefferson morleyjournalists, researchers, and historians face a different reality. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives JFK database, 15,834 assassination files, most of them from the CIA, will not be released until 2021, if then. Sad!

Why Secrecy? Some of the redactions are obtuseness dictated by bureaucratic necessity. In the file of decorated officer David Phillips, the agency redacts the fact that it maintains a station in the Dominican Republic. But Phillips wrote about the D.R. station in his memoir, The Night Watch — which was approved for publication by the CIA. This sort of redacting is what CIA veterans do in their sleep: keep secrets, even if they’re not secret.

Such conclusions have evolved from his three decades of research, also illustrated in his column last month at, Analysis: JFK researchers doubt Trump will free the files today.

Summing Up

There is great and often passionate diversity in the views of JFK researchers, which is why i have tried to be careful in ascribing ultimate conclusions only to my own words while quoting others extensively on the important immediate issues of the meaning of the latest JFK documents release process.

That process may be winding to a close, at least within the lifetime of those alive during Kennedy's era. The powers that be -- nearly all dead from that time but surviving via their powerful institutions -- simply do not want the public to obtain closure on the facts.

But no one should forget the obstacles and the significance of the hunt. There exist many implications for later events extending to the present. Indeed, this reporter will be traveling to Pittsburgh for a major conference from May 3 to 4 about the suppressed records causing the cover-up of the 1968 murders of Kennedy's brother, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and the iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Those are only a few of the steps on the path to the present.

We previewed that conference earlier this week in Historic Conference May 3-4 To Document MLK, RFK Murder Evidence Cover-ups. Readers here are encouraged to follow the revelations and their implications as best as possible. One way would be to register for the program via videoconference. The registration process is slightly opaque, however. To clarify, web registation is here and requires a $100 payment for video access, with payment here to the organizers at the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University.

The bad part about all this research is that nearly all of us are not going to like what we see as we persist. The good thing, though, is that we need to know because neither our government nor the media are willing to inform us about what's most important, as indicating by the difficulties in obtaining the last documents about JFK's murder.

cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo


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Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

By Andrew Kreig, JIP Editor, CAPA Board member and Associate Editor and Board member of The Indicter

What follows are excerpts from our Project's so-far 38-previous segments of a "Readers Guide" to the assassination begun in 2013 to underscore both the 50th anniversary of the death and its continuing relevance, particularly slanted media, government, and academic treatment of the death that serves as a Rosetta Stone to similar slanted coverage sensitive matters extending through the decades to today's news.

John F. Kennedy side profile

The Justice Integrity Project cooperates with Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) and The Indicter, each of which investigates suspected political assassinations around the world. The Project's most recent previous column on these topics for the Readers Guide was JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark on June 2, 2017, with this beginning. "The 100th birthday anniversary of President John F. Kennedy on May 29 prompted many memorials about the late president's enduring popularity, the continuing controversies over his murder, and at least one prominent display of mockery of the late president by a big newspaper."

In the Readers Guide below, a red asterisk (*) denotes major articles in the series. Other articles may be regarded as more routine or duplicative treatments sometimes covering specific events.

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting. The "X" mark is repeatedly painted on the street by author and photographic expert Robert Groden as reminder of the horrific crime that Dallas authorities seek to expunge by removing the X.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  4. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  5. 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,'  Nov. 19, 2013.
  6. Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
  7. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  8. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. *
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. 
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014. 
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
  26. Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
  27. Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
  28. Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
  29. The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
  30. Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015.
  31. Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
  32. Revelations Confirm Proof Of JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Nov. 25, 2016.
  33. Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16, March 8, 2017.
  34. Speaker Program For March 16 Forum On Secret JFK Records, March 8, 2017.
  35. JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Deadline, March 8, 2017.
  36. At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017.
  37. Time Magazine, History Channel Ramp Up Oswald-JFK Fake News, April 26, 2017.
  38. JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark, June 2, 2017.
  39. Deep State Killed JFK For His Cuba Policy, Peace Advocacy, Experts Say, June 13, 2017.
  40. Newly Released JFK Murder Files Prompt Disputes, 'Jigsaw' Solutions, Aug. 4, 2017.
  41. CAPA Challenges Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon, Sept. 22, 2017.
  42. Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Oct. 21, 2017.
  43. Trump Backs Off Promise To Release All Suppressed JFK Documents Today; Permits Partial Release, Oct. 26, 2017.
  44. More JFK Murder Records Released On Nov. 9, Nov. 10, 2017. 
  45. TV Star John Barbour Premieres New JFK Documentary In DC With Free Screenings, Lectures, Nov. 13, 2017.
  46. Two Major Annual JFK Research Conferences Launch Friday In Dallas, Nov. 15, 2017.
  47. DC, Dallas Nov. 22 Events Mark JFK Murder, Official Cover-up, Nov. 22, 2017
  48. Assessing Newly Released JFK Records, Alec Baldwin's Slam of NBC Cover-up, Dec. 19, 2017.
  49. DC 'Big Event' Boosts Pressure To Disclose Suppressed JFK Records, March 16, 2018.
  50. Trump Postpones Some JFK Documents At Deadline For Three Years, Releases Others, April 26, 2018.
  51. Trump Suppresses JFK Murder Records, Violates Pledge, Bows To CIA, Deep State, May 1, 2018.


Recent News Stories and Commentaries On JFK Records Release

April 26

nara logoNational Archives and Records Administration (NARA), New Group of JFK Assassination Documents Available to the Public, Staff report, April 26, 2018. In accordance with President Trump’s direction on October 26, 2017, the National Archives today posted 19,045 documents subject to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (JFK Act). Released documents are available for download. The versions released today were processed by agencies in accordance with the President’s direction that agency heads be extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement.

The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, established by the National Archives in November 1992, consists of approximately five million pages. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without any restrictions since the late 1990s.

As permitted by the JFK Act, agencies appealed to the President to continue postponement of certain information beyond October 26, 2017. The President provided agencies with a temporary certification until April 26, 2018 to allow for a re-review of all documents withheld in full or in part under section 5 of the JFK Act and directed agencies to “identify as much as possible that may be publicly disclosed” and to be “extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement.”

Based on reviews conducted by agencies in accordance with the President’s direction, the National Archives released 3,539 documents on Dec. 15, 10,744 documents on Nov. 17, 13,213 documents on Nov. 9, and 676 documents on Nov. 3 of last year. The 19,045 documents released today represent the final release of documents in accordance with the President’s direction on October 26, 2017.

All documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act have been released in full or in part. No documents subject to section 5 of the JFK Act remain withheld in full. The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump delays release of some JFK files until 2021, bowing to national security concerns, Ian Shapira, April 26, 2018. After President Trump vowed last year to release all the long secret files related to the JFK assassination, the administration announced Thursday that some documents will be withheld until October 2021 for national security reasons.

In a White House memo, Trump said that the nation’s intelligence community persuaded him to keep some documents secret because their exposure could harm “identifiable national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns.”

Trump gave the CIA, FBI and other agencies a deadline of April 24 to release the last remaining documents related to the investigation into President Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas. Last year Trump, who once suggested Sen. Ted Cruz’s father played a role in the assassination, promised he was going to release the entirety of the five million pages of records, most of which have been available since the late 1990s.

As of Thursday morning, it was unclear exactly how many records are being kept secret. The President did authorize the disclosure of 19,045 documents that are available on the National Archives web site.

Trump said the next deadline for release of more documents would be Oct. 26, 2021. “The need for continued protection can only grow weaker with the passage of time from this congressional finding,” Trump wrote.

Rex Bradford, president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which tracks the JFK files, said he wasn’t sure yet what had been withheld and needed to spend time scrutinizing the latest release of documents to see whether they contain a large or small amount of redactions. He said he did a quick “spot-check” Thursday morning and was surprised to see fewer whited-out sections than in previous releases. “I checked a few dozen files and there were certainly many with redactions, but they tended to be names and short phrases,” Bradford said.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Trump Orders Release of JFK Assassination Files — But Many Redactions Remain, Jimmy Falls, April 26, 2018. The National Archives has released 19,045 JFK files today that were previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public. But secrecy continues.The National Archives just released 19,045 JFK files. Today was the deadline for President Donald Trump to announce whether files previously either partially redacted or withheld from the public would remain hidden.

According to NARA, 15,834 of the files still contain redactions. They also claim that 520 documents remain withheld in full from the public because they are not subject to disclosure, such as documents falling under the IRS code or a sealed court order. NARA clarified that the documents with remaining redactions would have another chance for disclosure in three years:

The President has determined that all information that remains withheld under section 5 must be reviewed again before October 26, 2021 to determine whether continued withholding from disclosure is necessary.

The White House also released a presidential memorandum stating the necessity for certain files to remain redacted.

roger stone headshotRoger Stone (shown in a file photo), a friend and former political consultant to the president, who also wrote a book on JFK claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, told WhoWhatWhy,

“I am pleased that the president directed the final release of 19,045 documents today and that no document has been completely withheld. I am also pleased that the president ordered another review of withheld material by Oct 26, 2021 to determine whether further withholding can be justified. I have not yet had the opportunity to review how much of the material released today has been redacted but I am mindful that the president directed that redactions must relate to persons who are still living.”

jefferson morley, Analysis: JFK researchers doubt Trump will free the files today, Jefferson Morley (shown at right, with the cover of his biography, The Ghost, about CIA spymaster James Angleton below at left), April 26, 2018. The extreme and strange secrecy around the government’s information about the JFK assassination continues — even as the CIA insists we already know the whole truth of who killed a popular liberal president a long, long time ago.

On President Trump’s April 26 deadline for full disclosure of the JFK files, that veil of secrecy is still in place. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s analysis of the National Archives database, some 21,890 JFK files remain wholly or partially secret. Approximately 85 percent of the still-secret files are held by the CIA and FBI.

cia logoSuch secrecy not only stokes JFK conspiracy theories and the specter of a “deep state.” It also discourages historians, journalists and students from completing the historical record of JFK’s murder. Official secrecy helps cede the question of who killed JFK to the social media cohort educated by InfoWars and Reddit. Nothing abets the conspiracy mongering like CIA secrecy.

As a journalist and historian who has written about these files since I broke the story of their existence back in May 2013, I’m less interested in what they say about conspiracy theories than in what they reveal about Washington’s response to a spectacular crime. The president of the United States was gunned down in broad daylight, and no one was ever brought to justice. No one at the CIA or FBI even lost their job over this atrocious intelligence failure. Now tell me how did that happen?

As editor of the JFK Facts blog, I hoped the release of the last of the government’s JFK files in October 2017 would shed new light some aspect of the story. Was Kennedy’s death the work of unknown conspirators, abetted by CIA officers? Or the work of a lone gunman, abetted by sheer CIA incompetence?

mike pompeo portraitAs news organizations worldwide clamored to know what might be in the last of the government’s JFK files, President Trump tweeted boldly but proceeded cautiously. He acceded to pressure from CIA director Mike Pompeo (shown at right) and delayed full implementation of the law for six months.

In November and December, there was a partial release of files. The National Archives posted four large batches of newly declassified CIA, NSA and FBI files about JFK’s assassination. As reporters and researchers delved into the records they found some revelations about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton (portrayed below left on the cover of The Ghost.).

They also found many files had not been released. Many still had blanked out paragraphs and even whole pages. These files concerned top CIA officers involved in the assassination story such as David Phillips, Howard Hunt, and George Joannides.

jefferson morley the ghost coverIt was weirdly fascinating, which is to say it was business as usual in Trump’s Washington. The president’s October 26 tweet, “JFK Files are released, long ahead of schedule!” was wholly misleading. In reality, thousands of JFK files are still secret and their release is way behind schedule. Sad!

The prospects that scholars, journalists, and interested citizens will ever see all of these files this week are not bright. The reason is found in the recently released transcript of what Angleton told Senate investigators behind closed doors in September 1975.

“It is inconceivable,” he said behind closed doors, “that a secret intelligence arm of the Government has to comply with all of the overt orders of the Government.”

Then Congress voted unanimously in favor of the JFK Records Act, which mandates the release of all files. The act was signed into law George H.W. Bush, a Republican, and implemented by Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

President Trump favors full disclosure. Yet the will of the people — it seems a quaint concept these days — has not been achieved despite the letter and spirit of the law. Indeed, since October 26, 2017, the CIA has flouted the JFK Records Act. The law gives the agency the right to postpone the release of records with the approval of the president. Trump’s October 26, 2017, order on JFK files does conform with the law.

But the law also requires the CIA to provide a declassified summary of the reasons for postponement for each and every JFK file. That has not been done for the 21,000-plus records withheld from public view since last October.

April 27

Future of Freedom Foundation, The JFK Cover-Up Continues, Jacob G. Hornberger, April 27, 2018. Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger, shown at right,jacob hornberger headshot is also a book publisher, author and attorney. Just as I repeatedly predicted, President Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives decided to continue keeping those 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national-security establishment secret from the American people. On yesterday’s deadline, Trump dutifully issued an executive decree ordering at least three more years of official secrecy.

My new prediction: When the new deadline arrives on October 26, 2021 it will be extended again. The American people will never — repeat never — be permitted to see those records.

Last October, I also correctly predicted that Trump would accede to CIA demands to extend the time for secrecy when the original deadline that had been sent 25 years ago arrived for releasing those 50-year-old records.

cia logoNow, before you call me Nostradamus, let me point out that it doesn’t take a psychic or even a rocket scientist to predict that the CIA would do whatever is necessary to keep those records secret, even after 50 years. That’s what guilty people do — they do whatever is necessary to keep their guilt concealed.

Secrecy was always an essential aspect of the regime-change operation that took place on November 23, 1963 (just as secrecy was essential to the U.S. regime-change operations that took place in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, and Chile from 1953-1973). That’s why official investigations were shut down immediately after suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was himself assassinated.

lee harvey oswald cuba posterIt was imperative to the success of the operation that secrecy be maintained. Otherwise, it was a virtual certainty that investigations would pierce through the pat lone-nut theory and discover that the assassination was instead a highly sophisticated regime-change operation, one involving the frame-up of a U.S. intelligent [intellgence] agent, former U.S. Marine Oswald, who had been secretly trained to pose as a communist agent as a way to infiltrate the Soviet Union (America’s WW II partner and ally that had been converted into an official Cold War enemy) and, later, to help destroy domestic “communist” organizations like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Keep in mind the top-secret assassination manual that the CIA started developing in 1954, as part of its regime-change operation against the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who, like Kennedy, was democratically elected in a national election. That manual, which didn’t come to light until the 1990s, established that the CIA was specializing not only in the art of assassination but also in the art of covering up any CIA involvement in the assassination. Keep in mind also that they were willing to assassinate Arbenz, an innocent man, because they had concluded that he was a grave threat to “national security.”

doug horneIf you haven’t already read FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne (shown at left), I highly recommend you do so. Horne served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board, which was the enforcement commission of the JFK Records Act, which mandated the release of all records held by the CIA and other federal agencies relating to the assassination.

JFK’s War explains motive. Kennedy’s war with the Pentagon and the CIA was much worse (from their standpoint) than anything Arbenz had done and, for that matter, what Mossadegh in Iran had done, Lumumba in Congo had done, what Castro in Cuba had done, and what Allende in Chile would do.

Just as all those foreign leaders were believed to be threats to U.S. “national security” and, therefore, were made targets of U.S. regime-change operations, including assassination, why should it surprise anyone that Kennedy himself would be made a target of a domestic regime-change operation given that what he was doing, from the standpoint of the U.S. national security establishment, was much worse than anything that those other leaders had done or would do? Or to put it another way, if foreign leaders who pose a threat to U.S. “national security” are going to be removed from power, why wouldn’t a domestic leader who posed an even greater threat to U.S. “national security” be removed from power?

Kennedy’s war with the U.S. national-security establishment had to be kept secret, for obvious reasons. If Americans had discovered that that war was going on, they would have become even more suspicious over the pat facts that pointed to a lone-nut assassination. Thus, Americans were led to believe, falsely, that everything had been hunky dory with Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson, the Pentagon, and the CIA were just continuing his foreign policies, especially by revitalizing the Cold War, which Kennedy had vowed to end, expanding troops in Vietnam, which Kennedy was withdrawing, and ending all negotiations with Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which Kennedy had secretly initiated, something the American people wouldn’t discover for decades.

Ask yourself an obvious question: If President Kennedy really was the victim of a random assassination by some lone nut who had no motive to kill him, would it really have been necessary to shroud the Warren Commission hearings in secrecy, based on the ridiculous claim of “national security?”

jfk limo jackie clint hill

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stretches backwards to retrieve some of President Kennedy's brain matter for potential rescue of her husband after his fatal shooting in Dallas in 1963 as Secret Service special agent Clint Hill, assigned for her special protection, boards a limo strangely left unprotected otherwise.

Miami Herald, In latest JFK files, some tantalizing nuggets — and stuff that makes you go 'huh?' Glenn Garvin, April 27, 2018. Researchers who spent Thursday slogging through 19,000 newly declassified U.S. government documents on the Kennedy assassination learned little, except that the government's ideas about what needs to be secret, and what doesn't, are cryptic and unpredictable.

Some stuff in the documents that had been open for years is now classified again, and some stuff that had been classified and is now open is so innocuous that nobody can figure out what the point was.

gerald posner cover"You have things going back to the 1950s that were just declassified today, things that were probably of marginal importance even back then," said Gerald Posner, the Miami Beach author whose book Case Closed argues strongly against a conspiracy in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The documents revealed Thursday were supposed to be the final batch of a phased roll-out set by Congress in 1992 for the release of all government documents related to the assassination. But in the face of fierce argument from the CIA, FBI and other security organs, President Trump backed down.

What was apparent from early efforts to excavate the documents was the government's standards on classification range from ephemeral to nuts. One document was a complaint from one part of the federal government to another about the slowness with which office keys were being issued.

robert blakeyAnother listed the salaries of the staff of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979. If you're interested in lawyer-salary porn, the committee's chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey (shown at left in a file photo), was making just $47,500 a year at a time when young Wall Street attorneys just of law school were starting their jobs at $30,000 to $35,000.

In some cases, the documents re-redacted material that had already been declassified in previous versions. Often that seemed to reflect Trump administration sensitivities to the feelings of foreign governments.

A 1975 CIA report on the surveillance of shooter Lee Harvey Oswald during his visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City just a few weeks before Kennedy's death was released years ago identifying a particular photo as coming from "a Mexican police surveillance camera." In the same document, re-released Thursday, the words "Mexican police" had been covered over.

james angleton 1975 senate intelligence hearing ny times george tames customSimilarly, the transcript of an interview of former CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton contained odd deletions. Angleton, shown at a right, talking in 1975 to a presidential commission investigating the CIA, recounted how he had persuaded Israeli intelligence to post a skilled spy in Havana who would cooperate with the short-staffed CIA station there.

That information was plainly visible in an earlier release of the transcript. But on Thursday, government censors had blocked out portions of six sentences to cover up the nationality of the Israeli spy.

Why there is still more to come?

Angleton, a professional paranoid whose job assignment was to prevent penetration of the CIA by foreign intelligence agencies, played key roles in some of the most cryptic episodes following the Kennedy assassination. He was involved to some degree in CIA surveillance of Oswald in Mexico. He is believed to have removed and destroyed some documents from the CIA station there. And he also retrieved and burned the diary of one of Kennedy's paramours, the ex-wife of a senior CIA official.

So the transcript of his interview with the presidential commission has long been one of the most sought-after of the documents scheduled for release. Parts of it have been released before, but more than half remained redacted. Yesterday it was re-released, this time including much fascinating new information — but almost none of it having anything to do with the assassination.

The new material included Angleton discussing some of the great failures of Western intelligence during the 1950s, when the upper echelons of the British spy agency MI-6 were riddled with Soviet agents. There's also a lengthy conversation between Angleton and the commission members in which he strongly implies — but never states plainly — that he suspects two New York Times reporters were working for a foreign intelligence service.

seymour hersh hsThe two, Polish-born Tad Szulc (who died in 2001) and Pulitizer-prize-winning Seymour Hersh (still based in Washington and writing for the London Review of Books), were asking questions about an operation code-named Easy Chair, a top-secret CIA attempt to plant bugs in the home of the Soviet ambassador to the Netherlands.

One of the investigators bluntly asked if Angleton believed Hersh (shown at left in a file photo) was a Soviet agent. "I am not saying that," Angleton replied. But, he added, he would like to see the CIA's files on Szulc and Hersh. You've got files on them? an investigator replied in seeming surprise. Yes, Angleton confirmed, and on other reporters, too.

"And on other Americans?" the investigator asked.

"A lot of them," Angleton assured him.

mary ferrell foundation logo

Mary Ferrell Foundation, Analysis: 2017/2018 Document Releases: Update The April 26, 2018 Release, Rex Bradford, April 30, 2018. Rex Bradford is a longtime consultant and analyst for the Mary Ferrell Foundation, named for a JFK researcher (shown above) who helped assemble and institutional a vast collection of JFK-assassination-related documents.  

On April 26, 2018, the National Archives released over 19,000 additional documents, pursuant to the 6-month deadline given when the White House authorized continued withholding last October. Here are some facts about this release:

In general, released documents feature fewer redactions than has been the case thus far, though many redactions remain. According to the National Archives' project page, 15,834 documents remain redacted. These are intended to be re-reviewed for possible full release at the future date of October 26, 2021.

The remaining previously withheld-in-full documents will not be released; the Archives gave explanations including:

  • 520 documents fall under sections 10 and 11 of the JFK Records Act: these are IRS documents and documents provided under a "deed of gift"
  • 9 Rockefeller Commission audio files could not be located
  • 79 RIF record numbers could not be resolved to actual found documents

Additionaly, the MFF is tracking these releases against previously provided spreadsheets of records provided by NARA in 2016 and 2018. There appear to be additonal documents in those listings, expected to be released, which were not in the April 26 records; these instances are being followed up. See the table below for document counts. You can view these new documents at the National Archives website.

May 1

rex bradford mary ferrell whowhatwhy

WhoWhatWhy photo collage showing images of the Mary Ferrell Foundation (top left), its analyst Rex Bradford and the National Archives headquarters

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Final Word on the JFK Assassination: There Will Never Be a Final Word, Jeff Schechtman podcast interview with Mary Ferrell Foundation analyst Rex Bradford, May 1, 2018. Some people may know where bodies are buried; Rex Bradford knows where all the papers are buried. The leading archivist and historian of the records of the JFK assassination has a lot to say in his talk with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman.

rex bradford cspan 2013According to Bradford (shown at right during a C-SPAN appearance), the recently released 19,000+ pages are interesting, but in no way dispositive. What they reveal, more than anything else, is further evidence of how so many cover-ups — for so many reasons, by so many groups, agencies, and individuals — have hopelessly muddied the waters.

Bradford believes that from President Lyndon Johnson’s recruitment of Earl Warren to President Donald Trump’s holding back the release of still more documents, layer upon layer of self-serving lies have made the truth now impossible to uncover. Moreover, he argues that kicking the can down the road really does work as a way to hide what Peter Dale Scott once called “the bleak path to the truth.”

Bradford points out how ironic it is that there are now over five million pages of documents of a story in which the popular narrative was once that one man acted alone. He talks about who’s been making the decisions about what is and isn’t redacted, missing transcripts from the Church commission, some new documents on Oswald’s alleged trip to Mexico seven weeks before the assassination … but also about how no new document is a smoking gun. Much like our politics today — or maybe because of those politics — Bradford doesn’t think we will ever agree on a common set of facts about the assassination.

Jeff: Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy, I’m Jeff Schechtman. Last week, the National Archives released 19,000 plus files that were previously unseen records related to the JFK assassination. Even while Trump headed off the release of additional materials under the guise of national security, the story of the release received little coverage, mostly about what was not released. The content of those 19,000 plus pages got even less coverage.

Our guest today, Rex Bradford, perhaps more than any other American, understands these documents. He has become the self-appointed electronic archivist of the assassination of JFK. He began scanning relevant documents and making them available online and on CDs all the way back in 1999. He founded History Matters to make them freely available. He’s also written several essays and given talks at many conferences. He is now the Vice President of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and is a consultant and analyst at the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which has undertaken an even larger scale document archive project along with other materials, including essays, photographs, and multimedia presentations. It is my pleasure to welcome Rex Bradford back to Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Rex Bradford: And so in the 1990s, the government set up an Assassination Records Review Board which declassified a huge number of documents, there’s like up to 5,000,000 pages in the JFK collection of the National Archives, which is a whole lot for a murder supposedly carried out by some guy in a window in a building.

Jeff Schechtman: Is there any reason to think that we’re ever going to see what’s in those redactions, that even if more pages are ultimately released that there isn’t enough pressure or enough interest at this point to ever see what’s in those redactions?

Rex Bradford: I don’t know, many thoughts on that matter, I mean for one thing we are at least… the good news is, we’re approaching the point where what’s being redacted are what was sort of touted all along as being the reason, like agent or informant names, name of a person in a foreign government or would be embarrassing to the CIA just to acknowledge a liaison, that sort of thing. We’re not there yet. But it’s being reduced to a smaller collection of withheld information than where we were even a few months ago of having documents with hundreds of pages just completely whited out. So I guess that’s the good news. Whether we’ll get to full disclosure on this matter, good question. I’ve been unable to predict successfully each step of the way along here so we’ll see what we’ll see. Public pressure certainly does help, that’s why this law got passed in the first place, so public attention on the matter makes a great deal of difference. I don’t know what to predict.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation, all of our board members including myself wrote a letter to the Chief Archivist of the United States about six weeks ago, basically requesting, recommending basically full disclosure and some other things and also asking some questions about anomalies and issues in the documentation of what’s being released. And we can talk about that a little bit. Just basically records falling through the cracks, and that sort of thing. And I did get a reply from Martha Murphy who heads up the collection there, a partial reply, and I’ve tried to communicate with them and tried to get some clarity on some of the questions, because in part the thing is that… One of the good pieces of news is, unlike previously when you had to travel to the National Archives to collect these pieces of paper, for the first time with this set of releases, the Archives themselves have been putting PDF files online. So the good news and bad news is now they took that role upon themselves, a number of errors and problems with that process and their online listing are legion, and I’ve been trying to get some resolution on where they have two record numbers that point to the same document or the link that it points to is just a bad link, and on, and on, and on. But we’re getting closer I guess.

Jeff Schechtman: Do you have a sense that in any of the documents that were released back in October or this current tranche of documents that were recently released, that if nothing else, it points the way to other files and other information that we haven’t seen?

peter dale scottRex Bradford: Yeah, you know, I know a very wise person named Peter Dale Scott (shown at right) that some of your listeners may know of, and way back when he wrote Deep Politics and the Death of JFK in the early ’90s before all these declassifications, he put in the preface of that book that first of all the government records will tell us more about pre-assassination intelligence operations and post-assassination coverup than they do about the murder conspiracy itself. But he wrote that, quote, “This oblique path of the truth about the murder is the best hope which the documents give us.” And I think that’s been born out in spades., Opinion: After Trump’s big promise, 15,834 JFK files remain secret, Jefferson Morley (author of two books, including Our Man In Mexico, and shown at right), May 1, 2018. Why Secrecy? Some of the jefferson morleyredactions are obtuseness dictated by bureaucratic necessity. In the file of decorated officer David Phillips, the agency redacts the fact that it maintains a station in the Dominican Republic. But Phillips wrote about the D.R. station in his memoir, The Night Watch — which was approved for publication by the CIA. This sort of redacting is what CIA veterans do in their sleep: keep secrets, even if they’re not secret.


Other redactions are politically motivated. Say you have an question like: “Where does the CIA have offices in the United States?” The answer is–and is not–found in this newly-declassified 1975 memo from the file of J. Walton Moore, the CIA’s man in Dallas in 1963.CIA hides US offices. In new JFK files, the CIA censors the names of the U.S. cities where it had offices in the 1970s.

Why keep such a secret in 2018?

jefferson morley coverBecause the agency’s leadership doesn’t want to talk about its activities on U.S. soil. Revealing the cities where CIA has offices wouldn’t hurt U.S. national security. But it might raise questions on Capitol Hill, questions that director-nominee Gina Haspel doesn’t want to answer at her confirmation hearings. So the agency–and, alas, the president–say we’re not allowed to know where CIA does business in the United States.

JFK Redacted: What the CIA doesn’t want you to know.

One reason for the secrecy to protect the “national security” of the United States. The other reason for secrecy is to keep voters and taxpayers ignorant of how secretive government agencies actually work. JFK secrecy fails as the national security test but succeeds as civic disinformation.

May 3

JFKcountercoup, Opinion: The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some Positive Attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act, Bill Kelly, May 3, 2018. The Truth in Our Lifetime: Some positive attributes of the Extension of the JFK Act.

It is very disturbing that the JFK Act — the law of the land is not being enforced today, a fact that should make it relevant to everyone.

earl warrenWhen Warren Commission chairman Earl Warren (shown at left) was asked if the secret records on the assassination would be released to the public he replied, "Yes, but not in your lifetime."

And now it may not be in ours, as a lot of people, many of whom are not alive today, worked very hard to get the JFK Act passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush on October 26, 1992.

The law prescribed that all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be released in full to the public by October 26, 2017, twenty-five years to the day Bush signed it into law. When he signed it however, Bush added a rider to the law that provided the President — and only the President, with the authority to continue withholding certain records beyond the October 26, 2017 date on the grounds of national security, where their release would harm American interests.

There are also a number of assassination records that fall into specific categories that are exempt from the JFK Act provisions — over 500 records are being withheld in full under sections 10 and 11, special "deeds of gift" and grand jury records, as well as IRS tax records.

nara logoThe "deeds of gift" records are those that have been donated to the National Archives and stored in the JFK collection but are restricted by the donor, and these records include William Manchester's notes and papers he used to write his book The Death of the President, and individual oral history recordings and transcripts such as Jackie Kennedy's memories and beliefs, that are restricted by the Kennedy family.

The IRS laws take precedence over the JFK Act, so individual tax records are totally exempt, though Marina Oswald reportedly agreed to allow her family's tax records be released, and the very first document I read from among those recently released in the October 2018 batch is a good example.

In reading the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) report on an interview with former Louisiana State policeman Francis Fruge, a single social security number was redacted, and one that is not important. The rest of the document is extremely significant however, as it confirms most of the facts concerning Rose Cheramie, the women whose story is told in the opening scenes of Oliver Stone's film JFK.

rose cheramieFound unconscious on the side of the road outside the Silver Slipper saloon in rural Louisiana, Cheramie (shown at left) told officer Fruge, who drove her to the hospital, that she was with two Cubans on their way to Dallas to kill Kennedy and do a drug deal when she was thrown out of the car.

After JFK was killed a few days later, Fruge re-interviewed her, got the details of the drug deal, all of which he confirmed, and showed her mug shots of some Cubans and she picked out Sergio Aracha Smith, a New Orleans Cuban who came into play in the Garrison investigation.

rose cherami michael marcadesThe owner of the Silver Slipper saloon, a roadhouse bar, also confirmed that Sergio Aracha Smith was a customer who was in the night Cheramie was there. Cheramie was later found dead, on the side of the road, run over by a car, another suspicious death. (Her only son, Dr. Michael Marcados, co-authored in 2016 a well-reviewed ebook biography "Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals").

While I had seen a redacted version of the same HSCA report, this one was only missing the social security number.

And as I perused other documents in this 2018 batch — what the Archives calls "The Final Release," though more are expected by October 2021, I found that every document I reviewed was significant, and I will be going over them in detail in a later report.

May 15

newsweek logoNewsweek, CIA Reveals Name of Former Spy in JFK Files — And He's Still Alive, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), May 15, 2018. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Paris beckoned African-American intellectuals hoping to escape the racism and conformity of American life. Chief jefferson morleyamong them: Richard Wright, the acclaimed author of Native Son and Black Boy, who arrived in 1947. He was soon joined by Chester Himes, an ex-convict who mastered hard-boiled detective fiction, James Baldwin, the precocious essayist, and Richard Gibson, an editor at the Agence France-Presse.

These men became friends, colleagues and, soon, bitter rivals. Their relationship blew up after Gibson forged a letter, published in Life magazine under the name of one of Wright’s friends, attacking the French government for refusing to give up its colony in Algeria.

Wright was enraged, and he dramatized their falling out in a roman à clef he called Island of Hallucination, which was never published, even after his death in 1960. In 2005, Gibson published a memoir in a scholarly journal recounting the political machinations his former friend had dramatized, telling The Guardian he had obtained a copy of the manuscript and had no objections to its publication. "I turn up as Bill Hart, the 'superspy...'," Gibson said of the story.

Wright's book was apparently prescient. On April 26, when the National Archives released thousands of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they included three fat CIA files on Gibson. According to these documents, he had served U.S. intelligence from 1965 until at least 1977. The Gibson files revealed his CIA code name, QRPHONE-1, his salary — as much as $900 a month — his various missions, as well as his attitude (“energetic”) and performance (“a self-starter”).

The most curious part of the story: Gibson is still alive. He’s 87 years old and still living abroad. (Gibson “will not be able to your questions,” said a family friend who answered the phone at his residence.)

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington uGibson (shown working for CBS radio in a photo now at George Washington University in a collection of his papers) was still an “active agent” in 1977, when Congress reopened the JFK investigation and started asking questions about the agency’s penetration of the FPCC in 1963.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations asked to see Gibson’s CIA file. The agency only showed investigators a small portion of his file, but the entirety of the still-classified material became part of the CIA’s archive of JFK records.

That designation would eventually change. In October 1992, Congress passed a law mandating release of all JFK files within 25 years. Gibson’s secret was safe for the time being. In 1985, he successfully sued a South African author who asserted he was a CIA agent. The book was withdrawn, and the publisher issued a statement declaring that “Mr. Gibson has never worked for the United States Central Intelligence Agency,” a claim that no longer seems tenable.

In 2013, Gibson sold his collected papers to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To celebrate the acquisition, the university held a daylong symposium, “Richard Gibson: Literary Contrarian & Cold Warrior,” dedicated to “furthering our understanding of the intellectual and literary history of the Cold War.”

With the release of Gibson’s CIA files, scholars can now discern the hidden hand of the American clandestine service in writing that history. When it came to the character who inspired Bill Hart, “the superspy,” Richard Wright’s fiction was perhaps ahead of its time.

May  16

richard gibson cbs radio cia george washington u

CBS radio reporter Richard Gibson, now revealed as a CIA informant, shown in a photo via the Richard Gibson Collection at George Washington University

jefferson, Opinion: What the curious case of Richard Gibson tells us about Lee Harvey Oswald, Jefferson Morley (shown at right), bbc news logo2May 16, 2018. I was on BBC 3 Radio yesterday talking about the curious case of Richard Gibson, co-founder of the leftist Fair Play for Cuba Committee and, it turns out, a longtime CIA spy.

The larger context of Gibson’s story, which I broke in Newsweek, tells us a lot about the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Oswald in 1963. The fact that CIA dumped Gibson’s file while he is still alive is striking. The agency is not careless about protecting “sources and methods.” A journo-friend who knows the CIA well, asks: “Do you think this was just a massive screwup, or some sort of revenge for something he did?”

cia logoProbably the latter. Maybe CIA found out Gibson was selling information to the KGB as well. Maybe Gibson gave them bad intelligence. There has to be a reason why CIA officials chose to burn a living source–especially after President Trump tweeted that living sources would be protected.

Its too bad Gibson cannot give his side of the story. Suspicions of Gibson have been around a long time. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan found some of the first evidence 25 years ago and asked Gibson about it. He denied all.

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was not a CIA operation. It was a CIA target. The Gibson story, along with a lot of other evidence, shows how agency officers sought to penetrate, manipulate, control, and disrupt Americans who sympathized with the Cuban revolution. One of those Americans was Lee Oswald.

richard gibson robert taber fpcc founders gw universityGibson (shown at left) and his CBS News colleague Robert Taber (at right in a photo from the Richard Gibson Papers at George Washington University) did not intend the FPCC to become a mass organization. They brought together about 30 intellectuals to sign an ad in the New York Times in April 1960. They hoped to do nothing more than persuade news organizations and newspaper readers to look at the aims and accomplishments of the Cuban revolution more objectively.

At a time when Jim Crow ruled America, the racial diversity of the signatories, starting with the writer James Baldwin, is striking. The fact that black intellectuals signed on to a foreign policy manifesto, when most whites expected blacks to restrict themselves to the “Negro question” was also radical.

fair play for cuba committee ny times ad april 1960At right, the New York Times published an advertisement in April 1960 announcing the creation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC)

Striking too was the instantly hostility of the CIA, FBI, and Senate Internal Security Committee. As college students and professors formed chapters of the Committee, the FPCC was suddenly a growing organization and perceived as a growing threat to U.S. officials.

Striking too was the instantly hostility of the CIA, FBI, and Senate Internal Security Committee. As college students and professors formed chapters of the Committee, the FPCC was suddenly a growing organization and perceived as a growing threat to U.S. officials.

The popularity of the idea that American should give Cuba a break forced Gibson to take on a job he never expected to have: running a national political movement. He was not a CIA source — not yet. But the U.S. government was already seeking to disrupt and destroy his organization, by any means.

june cobb parada 1962Gibson was wiretapped by the CIA while talking to June Cobb, a CIA informant (shown in a 1962 photo) known as LICOOKY-1. He was served with two subpoenas by the Senate Internal Security Committee, which was determined to press criminal charges against the group in 1961.

The FBI intercepted and opened the group’s mail. When the FPCC hired an accountant to handle the flood of donations, the FBI turned him an informant.

Gibson, feeling harassed and underpaid, resigned from the FPCC and offered his services to the CIA in July 1962. By 1963, the FPCC had dozens of chapters around the country. The Senate Internal Security Committee was still seeking to demonize and disrupt the group with hostile hearings. And the CIA had the co-founder of the group as a potential source.